Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tiny, Fragmented Thoughts

It just ain’t news that President Obama taped a segment for American Idol’s special “Idol Gives Back” segment. Not only is it a worthy cause, but I’m fairly sure that the previous White House occupant did the same thing. Ain’t news.

Tiger Woods and Nike have put together an awfully cynical ad; it’s as professional, stylish, and as well-constructed as any Nike ad you’re likely to see, but the method, the message, and the emotions are all in service of commerce and not redemption. Tiger’s acts certainly call for introspection and I’m sure that some of the people nearest to him are disappointed, but taping together scraps of his deceased father’s words while Tiger stares balefully at the audience isn’t a path to introspection or any kind of reasonable response for the damage that he’s done to his family. The ad is too obviously a lie--a supposedly emotionally raw spot about a very serious subject but cheapened to the point of meaninglessness because it’s a branded moment of introspection that will hopefully sell a few extra shoes--to be effective on an emotional level.

When people talk about crass commercialism, this would qualify as a good example.

But Tiger doesn’t owe me anything. He doesn’t owe me an apology or an explanation or a second thought; I’m just some guy who thought that he was a good role model for kid. He never promised anything to me.

Aside from a seemingly (it’s an illusion, I know, but it is an amazing parade) endless line of women copping to sexual relations with the guy, how must Elin feel about seeing an ad like that? Shame and pain, I would imagine.

On the same topic, but from a very different side, as disappointed as I am by Tiger, I’m just as disappointed by the people and the media that are allowing that parade of women their fifteen minutes of fame complete with the assumption of a moral high ground. I was watching a show earlier today where the announcers were talking about Tiger’s appearance in Augusta today. When they weren’t busy chastising him for smiling and looking at his cell phone during practice--apparently he wasn’t showing the proper public misery--they started talking about the latest woman to claim an affair with Woods.

Apparently this young woman was a “next door neighbor” of Tigers and she was furious when she found out about all of the other women because she “thought she was special.” I’ve heard other of these women making the same claim and, I’m sorry, just because Tiger was a cheating jerk, they don’t get to claim any moral high ground. You know who was special? Tiger’s wife. Tiger’s children. The rest of these women are just a bunch of groupies whoring themselves out for a taste of his fame. Each and every one of them knew he was a married man and each and every one of them went on to have a relationship with him.

The idea that they had no moral responsibility because they weren’t the ones breaking the bond of marriage just doesn’t wash. If I knowingly sleep with another man’s wife, I share a good portion of the moral weight of that action. But these women are treated to photo spreads and salacious stories in respectable magazines, given uncritical coverage by the press, and seem to be shamelessly glorying in gossiping about their affairs and the most intimate and torrid details of their time with Tiger.

It’s moments like these where I think that we need to rediscover shame in this country.

Shame and regrets usually show up when you’ve done something that you shouldn’t have--and those folks who claim to live without either are either liars or have learned to turn off that internal check that gives them some pretty important hints about how they are living their lives.

When one of these women claim to be furious to find out that they weren’t the only one, I wonder if they spare a moment to feel furious with themselves for having slept with a married man and for their contribution in his, perhaps, irretrievably damaged marriage. If so, their apologies have been far less public than Tiger’s have.

I have very little use for a person who abdicates the moral responsibility that they have for the choices that they make in life. Less use for those same folks when they start loudly proclaiming just how much they’ve been wronged.

I’m pretty sure if you all saved up a bit, you could afford to get me this rather special book.

I’m still not ready to forgive Aston Martin for their own sins, but I do have to note this: the design language that Ian Callum developed for the DB7 and that has been stretched and updated to fit through every other Aston Martin since, is reaching its limits. Still beautiful, it’s becoming, perhaps, a little too familiar. It is time to see that design language stretch and change--keeping some bits to maintain heritage, but new enough to enrapture those of us who see Astons as much as art as they are cars.

Negative comments notwithstanding, I think that this take from Ugur Sahin wouldn’t be a bad place to start. There are some beautiful shapes and lines, the overall design is nicely balanced, it doesn’t ignore the Aston’s recent heritage, but it is fresh and new in a way that none of the new Astons seem to be matching right now.

To be fair, though, the new Aston Martin Rapide is far, far prettier than Porsche’s Panamera, which is too awkward to be truly bland, but that doesn’t stop it from trying.


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